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Despite Chats, Fenton None The Wiser About Cluxton's Dublin Future

Despite Chats, Fenton None The Wiser About Cluxton's Dublin Future
By PJ Browne Updated

Brian Fenton says he doesn't know if Stephen Cluxton will return to the Dublin panel.

Following Dublin's victory against Wexford in July's Leinster quarter-final, Dessie Farrell confirmed that the eight-time All-Ireland-winning goalkeeper had "stepped away" from the squad.

"At the time, when we were aware that he wasn't coming back, I thought it would be a distraction and this big thing. And that was there in the media for sure but inside the group, I don't think it was," Fenton said at the launch the new Avonmore Pro-Oats product.

"We're all mature enough and long enough on the road to know that players come in and out. Dermo [Connolly] has come in and out, Jack [McCaffrey], Paul Mannion. They've come in and out in many ways and as the year went on, it certainly wasn't a distraction for us, as much as I certainly thought it would be at the start."

18 November 2021; Avonmore Protein Milk are teaming up with Dublin footballer Brian Fenton and Kilkenny hurler Eoin Murphy, to launch the new Avonmore Pro-Oats product. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

 

Fenton said that he has spoken with Cluxton since he departed the panel. He also added he could not find fault with Evan Comerford, the Ballymun Kickhams goalkeeper who stood between the sticks for Dublin this year.

Brian Fenton on Stephen Cluxton's Dublin future

"I don't know, wouldn't it be great to have him back but the fella is almost 40 now. I'm slagging him saying he'll be playing Masters next year," said Fenton.

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"I reached out to him for pints and stuff and he's still there, still alive and still a friend but I don't know [if he'll be back with Dublin] is the truth.

"We chat all the time, well no more so than any mates. I'm sure I'll see him at a Damien Dempsey gig over Christmas, please God if they go ahead.

"But to be fair looking back, would you fault Evan Comerford? I don't know if you would and he is the most professional athlete you'll come across. As good as the keepers were in the All-Ireland series, I'd say Evan Comerford will have numerous All-Stars going forward. He certainly helps me to field when he's kicking it out."

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Dublin footballer Brian Fenton on championship structure

Fenton also addressed the failure of a new football championship structure to be green lit at GAA congress last month.

"I suppose it's sort of different for me in many ways because I've been very lucky to have plenty of games every year," he said.

"We play our National Football League games, we've been lucky to have a nice run in the championship. And I would almost wish that for every team, in many ways.

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"There's something special about going through the summer and playing consistent games. Just being together as a group, going around training camps, having your weekend camps, having your sessions after games, win or lose. There's something special about that for the group and as a bunch of men, ladies, players, or whatever it is.

"I would hate to be part of a team that was part of a championship team and lost. The pressure bubble is there to win the next game. Lose again and you're gone out of the championship. If I was a player in that scenario, I'd be saying, 'Jesus, I trained all year and I got two games. I didn't even give a good account of myself.'

"You might be an All-Star quality player and you've two games to prove yourself. Whereas, I'm fortunate that you might have a crap game and then you play two good games in-a-row and Jesus, you're an All-Star.

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"I won't get too deep into it but Proposal B was probably there on the table. I don't know the intricacies too well but I just know there was a certain amount of guaranteed games for every team whether you win or lose. And that would have potentially stood to teams more in the long run."

The Raheny midfielder added that he has "no doubt" that some form of change will be made to the championship in the future.

"I think that came loud and clear from the GPA to be fair from almost every player who was interviewed," he said.

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"They were looking for more games I think that would be a benefit.

"A lot of people came out in support for proposal B. Players just want more games, they want their families to get together on match days. They want the club flag or the county flag around their villages, they want that hype throughout the summer and it's something that only comes with more games for every county so I think it would be a huge benefit to the GAA down the line."

Fenton and Murphy who have nine All-Ireland Championship medals between them were representing the Gaelic Players Association, of whom along with the GAA, Avonmore Protein Milk are a long-standing supporter. In attendance at the launch is Dublin footballer Brian Fenton at Croke Park in Dublin.

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